White gloves, SHARE courses and paint-stained jeans

In this guest blog, Dan Clarke (Skills for the Future Heritage Trainee) tells us how SHARE has helped with his work over the past year, and reflects on his traineeship as it draws to a close.

White gloves, SHARE courses and paint-stained jeans… 

By Dan Clarke, Skills for the Future Heritage Trainee,  Moyse’s Hall Museum, Suffolk

Looking back at day one of my placement, Monday 30th June 2014, it’s all a bit of a blur, except for the moment I was given my first pair of white cotton gloves. It sounds so insignificant and silly yet it was something I’d been waiting years for; the moment I started my first museum placement.

I’m one of four Heritage Trainees that has been on a year-long placement at Moyse’s Hall Museum, West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, the Records Office and the SCC Archaeological Service. Our year-long posts are funded by the HLF, Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The placement has been vast in content. I’ve worked on collection care, social media output, exhibitions, workshops, events, displays, archiving at the Records Office, mapping geophysics at the SCC Archaeological Service and much more. One day you’re wearing smart/casual trousers for an event, the next you’re wearing paint stained jeans as you prepare a case for a new display; every day has offered a new experience and a change in dress-code. The main theme of my placement has been the digital aspect of museum work. You can follow my Social Media work for Moyse’s by clicking here and our Skills for the Future project can be followed here.

The symbiosis between SHARE courses and in-house experience has been invaluable. From the very first courses with Bob Entwistle in ‘Handling and Collections’ to ‘Digital Photography’ training with Sarah Holmes; SHARE has contributed immeasurably in our progression through Heritage and given us insights into what the digital era may bring. Techniques taught by Bob (we particularly loved his infamous acid-free paper wedges) were instantly required to change a display in a Gallery of Moyse’s Hall. The movement of priceless fragile Roman glass was a particularly stressful moment which was mitigated by our training.

In total we have attended more than fifteen SHARE courses and events in the last nine months. Each has offered unique insights into topics that have helped us to understand the plethora of different career paths in Heritage and the broad range of essential skills needed. We are grateful for all SHARE’s support.

It’s hard gaining employment in Heritage or Archaeology. We wanted to do something towards the end of our traineeships to help our generation, and the next, to understand opportunities in the sector, so we are putting on an event. Under the umbrella of the ‘Museums at Night Festival’ we are putting on ‘Museums at Night: The Future of History’; an informative and fun event that offers students, members of the public and heritage workers a chance to meet and seek career advice from senior museum workers and archaeologists. If you are near Moyse’s Hall Museum on 15th May 2015 at 6:30pm-8:30pm, why not join in and check us out?

 Trainees

From left to right: Ben Donnelly-Symes, Sarah Clark, Dan Clarke and Jack Everett. Picture by Alex McWhirter

 white gloves

The moment of truth… Picture by Dan Clarke

Dan Clarke

 

Dan Clarke: Graduated in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and History. Experience in filming and writing. Volunteered at historical sites prior to current placement.

 

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme is supporting heritage organisations across the UK to create new training places.  Grants range from £100,000 to £1million for a number of traineeships with an emphasis on high-quality work-based training.  The programme will help equip organisations to engage with the widest possible range of people and inspire them to get involved with heritage.  HLF has awarded a grant of £99,700 for the Bury St Edmunds project.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported over 35,000 projects, allocating more than £5.6 billion across the UK.  Website: www.hlf.org.uk.  For more information please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820

For further information Contact: Dan Clarke at Moyse’s Hall. 01284 706183. Email: daniel.clarke@westsuffolk.gov.uk

HLFWest Suffolk

Suffolk CC

 

SHARE Volunteer Awards: Nominees Announced

We’re pleased to announce that the full list of nominees in the SHARE Volunteer Awards for Museums in the East is now available to download:

[prettyfilelink size=”” src=”http://sharemuseumseast.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Nominations-2015-Final-Version.pdf” type=”pdf”]2015 Volunteer Awards Nomination List[/prettyfilelink]

The winners will be revealed at a celebration event on 4th June 2015.

#MuseumWeek at the British Schools Museum

A couple of weeks ago, Emily Shepperson (Curatorial Assistant, The British Schools Museum) gave us an introduction to #MuseumWeek on Twitter, and shared some ideas about how museums could make the most of it. Now, after a successful week on Twitter, Emily shares her experience of #MuseumWeek at the British Schools Museum.

Between the 23rd and 29th March 2015, over 1400 museums across the globe

Museum week logocame together to tweet about their organisations around seven daily themes. Worldwide over 179,600 tweets were sent.

For the British Schools Museum it was an exciting week. Following the SHARE #Museumweek training I had drawn up a plan of content as well as putting up posters and sending out a press release to promote our involvement.

Gathering the content together was really enjoyable and we started #secretsMW on Monday with our first ever Vine: a six second video of the stores. College students on a takeover day at the museum also wrote tweets about what they had been doing, and we posted these on their behalf which attracted retweets from @teensinmuseums and @kidsinmuseums.

#architectureMW Wednesday was a successful day with lots of interest, particularly from local press about photos tweeted of plans for major redevelopment of the site. From this interest we are hoping that the local paper will carry an editorial article about the proposed plans.

On Thursday #inspirationMW was a great opportunity to celebrate the work of our volunteers. I collected and tweeted nine volunteer comments, but unfortunately didn’t receive much interaction perhaps due to a lack of photographs. However, it was great to get the volunteers involved with social media and to gather wonderful comments which could be useful for other projects.

#familyMW Friday allowed us to showcase all the ways in which families can explore the museum. We talked about the museum ‘family’ and had comments from staff about their work which was re-tweeted and favourited but a range of people. This was a good way to raise awareness of social media with other team members. It was great to get a #FF (Follow Friday which encourages other account to follow you) along with @eh_stonehenge and @NMMgreenwich. This led to a flurry of interactions and new followers.

Many of the weekend tweets were scheduled, allowing me to check in and respond to activity. #favMW was all about favourite parts of the museum, and a tweet about the scones in the café generated the most activity!

Sunday’s #poseMW invited visitors in take photos of themselves in poses. Being aware of our audience demographic we focused instead on posting pictures of mannequins in the museum, and interesting costumes in archive photographs.

We received a lot of interaction throughout the week but our most successful feature was ‘Book Bingo’ on Monday #secretsMW. We ask people to tweet us a number between 5245 and 5537, and we would tweet back a picture of the book. We were surprised by the level of enthusiasm and replied to twelve bingo requests.

Over the week we gained 45 new followers and got to interact with a wide range of people and organisations. #Museumweek does involve a time commitment to work well but it is great for public and professional exposure, as well as being great fun to be involved with. I am looking forward to #Museumweek 2016.

Emily SheppersonCuratorial Assistant, British Schools Museum

@B_S_Museum / britishschoolsmuseum.co.uk

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